Somebody knows

For many years I have talked about my Suegra right in front of her face, and she hasn’t understood me. She doesn’t speak English and so we could all be trapped in the car together and I could say to my husband, “Turn the A/C off because I’m opening my window. She has way too much perfume on. It’s killing me.” … And Suegra would be sitting in the back seat, (stinking like a big bouquet of rotten flowers), blissfully unaware.

Eventually Suegra seemed to catch on to the words “she” and “her”. I could see her ears perk up, and her eyes would dart to my mouth, trying to make sense of the next few words I said. And so we had to come up with another way to talk about her. We ended up using “somebody”. For example, I would be in the kitchen preparing dinner. I’d open the fridge, only to find that I was out of an ingredient I know I bought only a few days ago.

“Dammit,” I’d say shutting the fridge and going to the cabinets to find a dry substitute for the fresh ingredient.

“What’s wrong?” my husband asks from the living room as he hears me slam a cabinet.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Suegra staring at me.

“SOMEBODY used all the fresh garlic,” I say.

Being able to talk about Suegra in her presence is essential to my survival with her in the same house. I don’t abuse it. I don’t make fun of her or say anything especially vicious, but to keep the peace, I need to be able to speak my mind to my husband and vent frustrations or else I will talk to her directly in Spanish and what I’ll have to say won’t be nice at all.

The problem is that now Suegra has figured out the word “somebody”. The other day after I used it she narrowed her eyes and said, “Qué es esa palabra, ‘somebody’?” (What is that word, ‘somebody’).

It means “alguien”, I explained feigning nonchalance while silently cursing.

Tell me how this woman has lived in the United States on and off for a decade and she hasn’t bothered to learn the language, except when it’s convenient to her. Oh yes, she knows the words “she”, “her”, and “somebody”, not to mention “free”, “yard sale” and “clearance”, but she can’t be bothered to learn a few useful phrases such as, “independent living”, “cut the umbilical cord” or “God help me this woman is driving me crazy.”


  1. Bahahaha! Call her the “MILFH” it may be a new take on the world MILF but I like “Mother-in-law from hell”

    I think we can come up with some creative nonsense words for you to try out… that way she won’t figure it out :)

    • @ Heartinhand – If she actually understood it all, it would be a dream come true. Then she’d have left this house years ago in fear of her life ;)

      Seriously, she’s evil but she’s not that clever. She also lacks self control, so if she understood what I was saying, she would not be able to restrain herself from entering complete melt down mode, (which she does without my help often enough.)

  2. I always say things like “Oh, I LOVE IT when I can’t discipline my kids how I want!” or, in your case, “Oh, isn’t is GREAT that nobody thought to tell me they used all of the fresh garlic when they cooked dinner last night?!” Always with a smile. If I’m really really mad, I’ll just get real quiet, and then she gets scared, because she knows she has pushed me too far and her son is NOT gonna like that. Should I feel bad that he has no problem chewing her ass out? I used too, hmmm….oh well, I guess she has used up all of my patience. And my MIL has lived in America for over THIRTY years, so don’t worry, she will never learn. But just in case your worried, here are a few you might try:

    The saint (cause isn’t she?)
    Mary (El madre)
    The one and only, like if he says “who pissed YOU off today?”
    Nobody, like “Nobody knows how to use perfume anymore”
    and my favorite, La Bruja, but she would understand you at that point. HAHAHA!

    The biggest problem you may have with these is they may be so obscure, Mr. Lopez may miss them as well, lol. Have a great day!

  3. That’s the latino curse, you have to put up with la suegra. Mi poor SIL has to put up with my mom even though I have offered my brother to take her with me, but my mom would not live with anybody else.

    Sorry Again!

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